The Effect of COVID‑19 Policies on Road Traffic Injury Among Vulnerable Road Users in Canadian Cities

Rothman, Linda | $416,925

Ontario Ryerson University 2021 CIHR Project Grant

An unexpected benefit of the COVID‑19 pandemic has been a temporary, dramatic reduction in road traffic injuries. Pandemic-related stay-at-home and physical distancing policies led to great reductions in police-reported collisions during the early stages of the pandemic. However, with the progression of the stages of re-opening, reports of collision fatalities have been emerging, likely due to reported increases in speeding. We will assemble collision data from March 2017-April 2023 in 4 Canadian cities – Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver and across provinces. The objectives are to 1)determine the effects of the implementation of COVID‑19 ‘stay home’ and physical distancing policies on rates of road traffic deaths and injuries 2) determine the effects of relaxation of COVID‑19 ‘stay home’ policies (while maintaining physical distancing policies) on rates of road traffic deaths and injuries 3)determine the effects of specific COVID‑19 related local roadway mitigation strategies on road traffic injuries and deaths (e.g. lane closures, new bicycle lanes). Collisions and specific new local road safety strategies, such as bike lanes and road closures will be mapped. Collision rates before the implementation of stay-at-home and physical distancing policies, during implementation, and after the relaxation of policies will be compared as well as before and after the implementation of specific road interventions. Data will be analyzed by age, sex, injury severity and travel mode. Cities now have a critical opportunity to institute policies to create safer walking and cycling environments. This pan-Canadian team brings decades of experience having collaborated on applied interdisciplinary research related to active transportation, motor vehicle collisions, road safety policy and the built environment. Results will be shared and disseminated through a variety of key stakeholders including; the municipalities and Parachute, the national injury prevention charity.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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